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Preview: MSI FX5600-VTD128-J (A.C.T.)
By Vijay Anand
Category : Graphics
Published by Jimmy Tang on Sunday, 21st September, 2003

Current Cooling Methods

Cooling your personal computer these days is no easy feat when you have processors running at 3GHz or more, 10,000 RPM hard drives like the WD Raptor (or an array of them in RAID) and graphics cards that consume more power than your central processing unit. Sure, you can add a fan here, another fan there, but in the process of adding more fans for better ventilation, you might forget that fans contribute to noise. On their own, they may not sound too bad, but once there is an obstruction such as a fan grill, it creates turbulence, which gives rise to much of the perceived 'fan-noise'. What's worse are the high-speed fans such as the internal 7000RPM+ Delta fans and high-speed impellers such as the Flow FX for FX 5800 Ultra graphics cards. PC enthusiasts have just about had enough living with such noisy system components that they paid for with top cash.

In the graphics card arena, we are happy to report that the current trend in graphics card cooling is certainly taking a step for the better, as the latest cards that entered our labs recently are generally quieter than those we saw last year. Some of the higher speed cards employed dual speed fan systems and are often found on mid to high-end range of GeForce FX graphics cards. With such cards, when the user is in 2D mode, the fan and core clock speeds are kept low, but once a 3D application is invoked, the card revs up the fan and the core speeds to maximum where noise levels on some cards are audible.

For most part of this year, MSI's graphics cards have been shipping with different versions of their T.O.P. Tech cooling technology. From our testing, both T.O.P. Tech II and III are able to keep the temperature of the cards in check while keeping noise levels at an all-time low for graphics cards with active cooling. Yet, these cards were still pretty good overclockers. We thought graphics card cooling couldn't get any better than this. However for those who are still skeptical, MSI has debuted their version of a heat pipe like cooling mechanism called A.C.T. and you can be sure that this assures totally silent (0 db) operation. Check out the card's specifications below.

MSI FX5600-VTD128-J Technical Specifications
Graphics Engine
  • NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600 GPU
  • High Precision 3D Rendering Engine
    • 4 pixels per clock rendering engine
    • Full 128-bit Precision Graphics Pipeline
    • Native support for 128-bit / 64-bit floating point and 32-bit integer rendering modes
    • Up to 16 textures per pass
  • CineFX Engine
    • Support for DX 9.0 Pixel Shader 2.0+
    • Support for DX 9.0 Vertex Shader 2.0+
    • Very long pixel programs up to 1024 instructions
    • Very long vertex programs with up to 256 static instructions and up to 65536 instructions executed before termination
    • Subroutines in shader programs
    • Dynamic flow control
    • Procedural shading
    • Z-correct bump-mapping
    • Hardware-accelerated shadow effects with shadow buffers
    • Two-sided stencil
    • Keyframe animation
    • Programmable matrix palette skinning
    • Custom lens effects: fish eye, wide angle,fresnel effects, water refraction
  • Intellisample Technology
    • Loss-less Color Compression and Z Compression (up to 4:1 ratio in real time)
    • Fast Z-clear
    • Adaptive texture filtering
    • Dynamic Gamma Correction
    • Fast antialiasing and compression performance
  • DirectX and S3TC texture compression
  • Integrated NTSC/PAL TV encoder support resolutions up to 1024x768 with built-in Macrovision copy protection
  • Video Mixing Renderer (VMR)
  • DVD and HDTV-ready MPEG-2 decoding up to 1920x1080i resolutions
  • Dual DVO ports for interfacing to external TMDS transmitters and external HDTV encoders
  • Support for dual-link DVI with resolutions support of 1600x1200.
  • High-performance 2D rendering engine
  • Digital Vibrance Control 3.0 (DVC)
  • nView Multi-display Technology
  • Default clock speed in 2D environment: 270/550 MHz (core/DDR memory)
  • Default clock speed in 3D environment: 325/550 MHZ (core/DDR memory)
  • 128-bit  memory interface
  • 8.8GB/sec Memory Bandwidth
  • AGP 8X including fast writes and sideband addressing
  • Advanced thermal monitoring and thermal management
  • Microsoft DirectX 9.0 optimizations and support
  • OpenGL 1.4 optimizations and support
Graphics Memory
  • 128MB DDR I SDRAM of 275MHz clock rate (effective speed of 550MHz DDR)
  • Dual 400MHz RAMDACs that support resolutions of 2048x1536@85Hz
Video Decoder
  • Philips SAA7114H
  • 1x analog RGB connector
  • 1x mini-DIN connector (for Video-in / Video-out)
  • 1x DVI-I connector (for Digital Flat Panel displays)
  • Driver support for Microsoft Windows 95/98/98SE/Me/NT 4.0/2000/XP, Linux IA32 / IA64 / AMD64 and FreeBSD
  • NVIDIA Unified Driver Architecture (UDA)
  • Fully compliant professional OpenGL 1.4 API with NVIDIA extensions
  • Complete DirectX support including 9.0 and lower
Software / Games
  • InterVideo WinProducer / WinCoder & Professional Users' Pack
  • InterVideo WinDVD 5.1 Channel & Supreme Foreign Language Learning Machine
  • FarStone VirtualDrive & RestoreIT!
  • Adobe Photoshop AlbumSE + 3D Album
  • Trend Micro PC-cillin 2002
  • ThinSoft Be Twin
  • Media Ring Dialer
  • E-Color 3Deep
  • MSI Utilities (LockBox,  GoodMEM, SecureDoc, 3D Turbo, Live Update)
  • MSI 3D Desktop
  • MSI Media Center Deluxe II
  • Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon
  • The Elder Scrolls III : Morrowind (2 discs)
  • Duke Nukem Manhattan Project
  • 7-in-1 Games Collections : The Sum of All Fears, Beam Breakers, IL-2 Sturmovik, Serious Sam: The Second Encounter, Rally Trophy, Beam Breakers, Zax: The Alien Hunter, Oni
Other Information
  • AGP 2.0/3.0 slot required
  • 1 PCI-assigned IRQ Required
  • MSI Aeronautical Cooling Technology (A.C.T.)

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